From left: Director of the Office of Caribbean Affairs, Katharine Beamer; Washington desk officer for the Dutch Caribbean Shannon Rooney Consul for Political, Economic and Public Affairs Kristin Lundberg; IVLP Fellow Ife Badejo; Public Affairs Specialist, Sady El Hage and Chief of Mission and Consul General, Margy Bond.
PHILIPSBURG–A delegation from the US State Department and the US Consulate Curaçao travelled to St. Maarten during Global Entrepreneurship Week. In addition to other official courtesy meetings, the Chief of Mission and Consul General, Margy Bond, invited a handful of key stakeholders to dinner for an opportunity to share challenges pertaining to economic growth, explore commercial opportunities, and discover ways in which the US Consulate and by extension, the US government, can effectively support sustainable economic growth in St. Maarten.
Those invited to the “Dream Up Innovation” dinner included Branch Manager of the Central Bank for Curacao and St, Maarten Raquel Lo fo Wong; faith-based leader and IEP Peace Ambassador Dr. Alicia Liverpool; Damien Schmidt, Project Coordinator at the Princess Juliana International Airport; Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion and his chief of staff Christian Grannum, and Ife Badejo, who assisted the Consulate in organising the dinner.
Representatives of the US State Department and the US Consulate included the Director of the Office of Caribbean Affairs, Katharine Beamer, Shannon Rooney, Washington desk officer for the Dutch Caribbean, Chief of Mission and Consul General, Margy Bond, Consul for Political, Economic and Public Affairs, Kristin Lundberg, and Public Affairs Specialist, Sady El Hage.
During the dinner, guests discussed strategies for increased economic growth and proposed creative solutions to common entrepreneurial problems. One topic was on the Orange economy being a key driver for economic growth on St. Maarten. Another topic was digital payments and how to engage with bigger firms to help solve this problem. There were also discussions on how to keep the people motivated and support them in cultivating an innovative mindset and thus build an innovative culture.
A few months ago, Ife Badejo was nominated by the US Consulate in Curacao to participate in the State Department’s professional exchange programme the International Visitor Leadership Programme, due to her work empowering entrepreneurs in St. Maarten. Fellows of the programme can only participate once they are selected by the US State Department after receiving a nomination from a local Embassy or Consulate. The US invests in current and emerging foreign leaders around the world and offers them an opportunity to go to the US for three weeks to foster relationships with their global counterparts in their area of expertise. Badejo will focus on small business and entrepreneurship.
The Director of Caribbean Affairs, Katharine Beamer, made the announcement at the Dream Up Innovation Dinner which took place on Wednesday, November 16. At the closing of the dinner, Beamer thanked Badejo for assisting in coordinating the dinner and then said: “I understand that my colleagues at the Consulate in Curacao nominated you for a programme called the International Visitor Leadership Program. I am really thrilled to say that you have been selected by Washington to travel to the United States to participate in this program on entrepreneurship in the spring of 2023. We’re super proud and inspired by you. We’ll be investing in you and we know that this will be another step in building an incredible relationship between you and the United States, and your contribution to your country, the region and the world. Thank you so much and we’re delighted to have you.”
Badejo will join 19 other fellows from around the world in the US in April 2023. In addition to the dinner, the US delegation joined the final pitch practice session of the National Youth Pitch Competition on November 17, before departing the island.
Bond; Vinod Kotaai, board member of St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Vincentia Rosen- Sandiford, director of the Bureau of Intellectual Property for St. Maarten served as mock jury panellists. Other members of the community and the delegation served as a practice audience.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/badejo-chosen-for-int-l-visitors-leadership-prog